NFL pundit has bold prediction for Michael Penix, Falcons

NFL: MAR 01 Scouting Combine

The Falcons shocked the NFL world when they drafted Michael Penix around six weeks after they inked Kirk Cousins to a $180 million free agent deal.

The way Cousins’ contract is structured, the Falcons are effectively guaranteeing Penix will sit two seasons behind the veteran, unless they’re willing to take on a lot of dead money.

Even with the veteran returning from a significant Achilles injury, nobody really expects the rookie to get any real burn in the regular season. Well, outside of Connor Orr of Sports Illustrated, that is. The NFL pundit made a bold prediction that Penix will make two starts in the upcoming season, which would make Drake Maye the rookie quarterback with the least starts among first-rounders.

14. Drake Maye, not Michael Penix Jr., will make the fewest starts among all rookie first-round quarterbacks 

The Patriots could—and should—shield Maye from their in-repair roster and allow him to learn from Jacoby Brissett, though Penix will be forced into the mix for at least two starts. (I am not saying Kirk Cousins will have a serious injury, because that’s very uncool to predict and is against the Code of the Orracle. Maybe, like Aaron Rodgers, he’ll require some time off during work hours for a vision quest. Or maybe he’s just like the rest of us banged-up, 36-year-old dads, prone to aches and pains.) Penix will go 1–1 in his two starts, throwing four touchdowns, three interceptions and one very cool broken-play off-balance throw that sets up a game-winning field goal.

Orr doesn’t say it outright because nobody roots or predicts injuries, but the only way Michael Penix sees the field in 2024 is if Kirk Cousins goes down with an injury, the Falcons are up a considerable amount of points in a game, or the at the end of the season in a meaningless Week 18 game.

Realistically, Penix’s first regular season start won’t come until the end of the 2024 or 2025 campaign after the Falcons have already locked up the NFC South, but I would love to see the southpaw get some burn against NFL starters.

We will probably have to settle for the preseason, though.

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

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